Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The last few weeks have been intense as my husband and I prepared for our annual youth retreat.  Now at last it is upon us and I don't know if I'm going to be okay.  What do you do when it seems like the weight of a whole retreat is on your own shoulders?

You pray strong and hope builds, but God says no and the speaker you had planned falls through.   Then you realize that this speaker will not make or break the retreat, and that only the Spirit of God has the power to make it a success.  His presence is all we need.  By default, the task returns to me.

Inward beauty, the broken make whole, this I know.  But how can I speak on the outward when I actually gained the pounds I intended to lose and when I need a haircut and the gray is showing and tennis shoes are what I wear?  The doubts whisper loud and clear, Who do you think you are anyway?
But I'm going to be okay because these four lessons from the lives of Leah and Rachel have come direct from the Lord.  And He says "it is not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit" that hearts are touched and lives are changed.  (Zech.4:6)  So it is not up to me after all. 

In fact, God forbid that I should get in the way of what He intends to do.  And so I prayed a scary prayer . . . that God would make me humble because I know that He "resists the proud"  (James 4:6)  If I am to be an instrument in His hands, the very last thing I want is His resistance.

God has answered that prayer this week, but not in ways I like.  I guess I didn't expect it to be so painful.  Silly, dumb things, like spinach in my teeth, and falling down the stairs.  Not just a little fall, but all the way down.  I should have laughed along with the others, because, well, it was funny.  But I just wanted to cry. 

Then we were set to answer questions for an event, my husband and I . . . honored guests.  But the night before the event, we were given an emphatic "no".   There had been a misunderstanding and we were not so special after all.  Mind you, it freed up some much needed time, but still, my pride was hurt.

Furthermore, I lost something from last summer, something that belonged to a fourth grader, and so I prayed and prayed for God to help me find it, but never could.  Aren't I tight with You God?  Don't I know that You answer prayers like this?  And must I really look into those disappointed eyes every Sunday?  Eyes that send me on a guilt trip, that remind me of my failure?  Yet, even here there is grace, for at that moment Romans 8:1 was read, "there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."  God was showing me through His 'no' that I needed Him, desperately.

Then, last week I tried hard to set up an appointment with some elderly folk.  A group of young girls were depending on me, but the old folks could not understand who I was or what I wanted.  Why can't my name be a Susan, a Beth, or a Tina, something crisp and easy to say, something familiar.  And why must I mumble and why do I have such a fear of talking on the phone?   The day came and went, and yet God was sufficient for my need.  He made it happen, just how He planned all along.

Finally, the materials had been printed for the retreat, content from the Lord, yes, but from my own heart as well, lesson plans I had written.  I spent a taxing day hunting down the components of a an illustration for my talk, but received a very wise 'no' from my husband.  All of the booklets had to be destroyed and reprinted because of one word I had written.  One word.   I should have known better.  And that illustration went into the trash. (I have since found better ones.)

I do hope that these lessons in humility are over for awhile, but even if they're not, one thing I do know.  I'm going to be okay because God is in control.  He is trust worthy, and He is able to do far more than I could ever ask or think.  I know the same is true for you as well.  No matter your struggle, you are going to be okay because our God is sovereign.  His eternal plan is set in motion and we are part of it.  We cannot always see it, but we can truly trust Him, for He knows what He is doing.

This post was written in response to a prompt at, "You're going to be okay because...", Coffee for Your Heart.  Click on the link below.  You'll be glad you did.


  1. Thank you for sharing your lesson, Jewel. I think you have a glorious name, which is a reminder of what you are to your Hevenly Father. And you never know just how deeply your humility and your joy for the Lord touched all those who were watching and you never knew it. He always redeems and restores and the beauty that is in you because of Him is most likely what everyone sees.


    1. Thank you Dawn for your encouraging words. Actually, I do really like my name. Just sometimes it is hard to say and because it is unusual, often have to repeat it.

      And yes, I know without doubt these messages I am to deliver this weekend are from the Lord and so am excited to see what He is going to do with them. Yet, any birth requires struggle and wanted to encourage my readers who also might be going through difficulty in their lives.